Email marketing provides businesses with an easy way to promote new products and services. Thanks to the various tools and mailing platforms available online, marketers now have access to better, more concrete ways to evaluate online efforts and gauge how well each message resonates with a target audience.
However, studies have shown that databases degrade by 22.5% every year due to the following reasons:
- Changes in contact email addresses as they move from one company to another
- Subscribers preferring to opt-out of email communication.
- Email addresses only being used to fill out website forms and then later on abandoned.
Contact list integrity is a critical component to effective email marketing that is often overlooked by marketers. Regular email list maintenance is essential to the success of any campaign as this helps you avoid possible penalization by your email marketing service provider and keeps your pool of subscribers fresh and up-to-date. Read on and we’ll walk you through the basics of list management so your online campaigns can get better results.
Ways You Can Grow Your Email List
1. Create Unique and Remarkable Content
For some B2B companies, constantly providing fresh, informative, and valuable content that encourages visitor engagement can be challenging, but not impossible. Try setting up things like a Knowledge Base, Application Note Library, or a weekly blog section to keep your customers interested in what you have to offer.
2. Encourage Subscribers to Forward Emails
Adding “Forward to A Friend” links at the bottom of every email campaign makes it easier for your subscribers to share your campaigns with colleagues and could also earn you more subscribers in the process.
3. Send Specific Content to Targeted Segments
Consumers who receive content tailored towards their interests are more likely to open your emails. Through A/B testing, create multiple offers for different segments of your audience and you’ll find your campaigns will start getting better results.
4. Send Out Emails to Your Lists Regularly
Release your campaigns on a consistent schedule to set subscriber expectation. When your customers see that you send great content on a regular basis, they are more likely to recommend and forward your emails to colleagues.
5. Make It Easy to Sign Up
Set subscriber expectations by telling users how they’ll benefit from subscribing to your newsletter. Let them know that you’ll be sending them things like product updates, exclusive deals, and sample offers so that they’ll be more inclined to opt-in.
The most ideal places to position your sign up forms are on key pages such as the Homepage, Navigation Menu, Main Blog Page, About Us Page, Contact Us Page, and your Content Pages. Alternatively, you can also set up a pop-up form to really grab your visitor’s attention.
6. Offer Gated Content
Gated content or permission assets are pieces of information such as application notes, PDF guides, whitepapers, or tools that visitors can access in exchange for providing information through squeeze pages that you’ve set up on your site.
7. Review Soft-Bounces
Before you remove email addresses that have bounced from your list, check your soft bounces for any auto-responder or out of office messages. These messages are just as important because they include email addresses of people with similar positions or areas of expertise as your current contact, making them a great addition to your mailing list.
8. Gather Email Addresses from Offline Events
Corporate events, tradeshows, and fairs are a prime source of potential customers. The key is to tackle and build your email lists from as many angles as possible.
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The Importance of Maintaining Your Email List
No matter how well you've grown marketing lists however, it’s important to note that email addresses will always go bad over time. This can be due to a number of reasons:
- Users shut down email accounts
- Subscribers move on from corporate jobs where their emails were originally hosted.
- Inboxes become too full to accept more messages.
Internet service providers, spam monitors, and email security services all set specific standards for what counts as a good email campaign. To maintain their sending reputation and deliverability rates, email marketing services therefore keep a close watch on sender accounts and impose their own reputation thresholds on users.
The consequences of having poor sender reputation with your email service provider could include:
- Bad marketing results
- Expensive fines
- Account suspension
When you keep blasting emails to an unqualified list filled with addresses that have gone stale, your sender reputation in turn gets affected. This is partially due to a thing called “bounces”, which serves as a way for email marketing services to identify spammers.
When emails aren’t successfully delivered to a specified address, your email service provider registers this as a bounce. The likelihood of your campaigns returning higher bounce rates go up when your lists don’t remain healthy. When your bounces go up, your sender reputation as a result goes down.
Before you start to panic however, know that bounces fall under two classifications: Hard and Soft. Hard bounces occur when messages are permanently rejected because the address was found to be invalid or non-existent. Soft bounces on the other hand, happen because of situations where recipient inboxes become too full to receive messages or when glitches occur with the recipient’s email service.
As a rule of thumb, maintain a threshold of three to five bounces per consumer before completely removing them from your database. Some third-party platforms will have this feature built into their systems but if you’re maintaining your lists manually, you’ll want to schedule this maintenance check on a regular basis.
In addition, allow your subscribers to take control of the communications they receive by making unsubscribing as easy as subscribing. Don’t hide the unsubscribe link on your email marketing campaigns as the law and canspam requirements state that users have to be allowed to opt-out or unsubscribe to your mailing list. In the long run, it’s better to lose an uninterested contact thaan to have them ignore your email or mark them as SPAM.
Cleaning Your Email Lists
When managing your email lists, be sure to keep a master list of your customer email addresses. Master lists are easier to maintain and import into any email marketing platform and can act as a central database for your email campaigns. To create your own list, follow these steps below:
1. Setup A Spreadsheet
If you’re already working with several marketing lists, dump all your information into a single spreadsheet with the following headers:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Segment list
- Time Zone
2. Remove Personal Email Addresses
Start with identifying and deleting personal email addresses from your master lists. Most B2B companies deal with buyers or representatives have company emails to carry out buying transactions. On your spreadsheet, add filters to your headers and then use those to isolate emails ending with the following:
3. Remove Spam Accounts
Spam account need a little more effort to remove as these addresses can get creative. Some of the most common spam emails we’ve come across end with
4. Remove In-House Employee Addresses
Of course, the whole point of your email marketing efforts is to capture new audiences and or encourage current customers to come back to your site to generate new conversions. Some email marketing platforms charge marketers a fee per user, so save your marketing budget and move any in-house employee addresses from your master list to a separate database.
5. Identify Duplicate Addresses
This step is important because you don’t want to delete duplicates right away. Instead in excel, apply conditional formatting to your spreadsheet and highlight the duplicate values. Filter out the spreadsheet so you are only viewing the duplicate addresses in alphabetical order.
The reason why you don’t want to delete these values right away is because important customer information isn’t always included in both instances of the duplicate entries. So, before you start removing the entries, make sure to copy and paste any useful data into the missing columns.
6. Add Customer Information
At this point, your customer information should be relatively clean, but you’ll want to take it a step further by updating your master list with personal customer information where you can. Sometimes subscriber emails comprise of complete names, so its good practice to look through this list and manually add first and last name information when available.
7. Verify Your Master List
Finally, once your list is all sorted out, go ahead and process them through tools like Brite Verify to ensure email validity.
SCI Global Services Inc. offers complete email marketing services to help you win at Email Marketing. We also host exclusive Clever Clients Webinars each week to talk about valuable strategies and marketing tools that help our clients achieve desired business goals. Contact us today!
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We're here to help you manage your email marketing camapaigns.